iproducer #4 – Unlink and Conquer + Bonus from Gustavo Bravetti on Vimeo.

Exclusive to CDM (and Vimeo), Live guru Gustavo Bravetti offers a deep tutorial in sound creation in Ableton using “unlinked envelopes.” He assembles quasi-modular routings of effects into one another to create some unusual sounds. I think there are some inspiring techniques here, even beyond Ableton Live – I’d watch it even if I weren’t a Live user.

Gustavo writes:

“This workshop demo video is about using Live’s unique clip unlinked envelopes and Ableton’s effects to easily create elaborated sequenced sounds as well as a “how to” create a bass, a tuned bass drum, a clap and hi hats.”

So, what’s the beauty of the “unlinked envelope”? By separating the envelope length from the length of a sample, you can take a sample of one length and modulate it in time independently with an envelope of a different length. A short sample can warp in a longer block of time for more variety – a 1/16th note sample, for instance, transformed over a bar or two. Add the ability to route the envelope into effect modulation, and you can start to think extreme sonic freakiness. Here, that serves Gustavo’s own electronic palette, but it could suit a variety of musical aims.

You can also go the opposite direction: you could take a long sample and modulate it with a short envelope. For instance, you could select a 30-second oscillating texture, and apply a very short envelope, like a single sixteenth-note peak, in order to create an evolving high hat.

You can think of the unlinked envelope as a modulation source for a variety of sonic targets. It could be a short sample, a chain of effects, or a synth. Here, Gustavo sticks to built-in Live devices, but you could easily add your own plug-ins of choice – especially now that Live has added the ability to more easily choose which third-party plug-in parameters you wish to target.

Part of why I say this is about more than just Live is that you can begin to see how thinking in envelopes can make your musical content more dynamic, a technique you can apply to any environment that allows this sort of routing. It certainly illustrates the power of Live in a way that I think a lot of people miss.

To watch the full HD version, head to Gustavo’s Vimeo account.

I’m going to be organizing a compendium of our best Live tutorials soon; if you have external tutorials you’d like us to link up, let us know.

Previous Gustavo-fueled mayhem:
Ableton Live Follow Actions, Dummy Clips, Making Snares
DIY 808, IDM 101
Gustavo Bravetti Show Us How To Glitch out Ableton Live
Hexagonal Sequencer with vvvv, MIDI, Ableton, and Soon Wii, Camera Input
Live + FM8 = Drum Kit Love: Free FM8 Drum Kit Download